Don't get disconnected
Losing your internet connection can be disruptive at best and disastrous at worst, don’t let that happen to you
Now, more than ever, an internet connection is the lifeblood of productivity. With the vast majority of the workforce now predominantly working from home, and that situation looking likely to become an accepted normality in a post-COVID world, that need to stay connected is paramount.
But working from home has meant relying on home broadband connections, and more often than not, the bundled router that came with that broadband deal. While that setup may be adequate for average home use, when you’re relying on that connectivity all day long, every day, often with multiple people sharing the same network, the cracks start to show.
There are all manner of security and performance features that any serious home worker should be employing when it comes to their broadband connection and network. From changing the SSID and Wi-Fi password, to enabling encryption and prioritising work related traffic over the kids watching Netflix. Many bundled routers won’t have all these features, and with the ever-increasing number of wirelessly connected devices in our homes, they may not have the wireless bandwidth to adequately keep up.
But while all of those potential issues are important, and certainly should push home workers towards investing in - or businesses to roll out - more robust, business grade routers, there’s nothing more detrimental to productivity than losing internet connectivity completely.
We’ve all been there, watching pages refuse to load, or having that important video call drop in the middle of a presentation, only to realise that we’ve lost internet connectivity. It’s a feeling of complete despair and helplessness, whether it’s a problem with our ISP, or something as comical, yet annoying as squirrels chewing through the phone line - yes that really does happen! Whatever the reason for the outage, getting your internet connection back is completely out of your control, leaving you waiting anxiously, knowing that you’re missing important meetings and deadlines as each hour passes.
There is a solution to this problem, though; a way to avoid both the anxiety and loss of productivity - a broadband failover system. A broadband failover system will switch to a backup internet connection if the primary connection goes down for any reason whatsoever. The switch will be automatic, and any users on your network will maintain continuity of service, most likely unaware of any issues - essentially business as usual in the event of an internet outage.
The key to broadband failover is a suitably equipped router that can connect to multiple WAN services, ensuring that if the primary connection fails, there’s a backup ready and waiting. There’s also a choice of backup options to choose from, depending on the services in your physical location, and the type and speed of backup you need.
If your main broadband connection is ADSL/VDSL - think BT Broadband/Infinity - you could connect a second ADSL/VDSL service from a different ISP, meaning that if your primary ISP goes down, your router would automatically switch to the secondary connection. There are a couple of caveats with this solution, though. That secondary ADSL/VDSL connection will require an additional external modem, since the modem built into your router will be in use by your primary connection. Also, while this will keep you connected if your ISP goes down, it won’t help if there are problems with the physical phone lines or local exchange.
Ideally that second connection should be completely independent of the first, and if you have a cable provider supporting your area - think Virgin Media - then you could employ a cable broadband service as your backup plan. This method will ensure that you maintain connectivity even if there is a physical line problem with your primary ADSL/VDSL connection, since your backup will be employing a completely different physical line.
While either of the methods above will ensure continuity of service, you will be paying for two broadband connections, with the second only coming into play if your primary service fails. However, a router with load balancing lets you use both connections simultaneously, and even decide exactly how to split the load, perhaps prioritising your work devices over everything else.
But what if you need that reassurance that you’ll never be without that all important internet connectivity, but you don’t want to be paying for two broadband services every month? Well there’s still a broadband failover solution for you, this time making use of LTE cellular technology.
We’re all used to having fast internet in the palm of our hand thanks to LTE mobile data, but that technology isn’t limited to mobile devices. You can opt for a broadband router that has an LTE modem built into it - simply insert a data SIM and should your primary broadband ever fail, the router will automatically switch to its LTE connection. While the LTE internet connection will unlikely be as fast as your primary broadband, it will keep you online and productive, while also saving you the cost of a second broadband contract - there are countless pay as you go data SIM deals, allowing you to have that backup connection ready and waiting, without an ongoing cost associated with it.
Of course all these solutions depend on the right router with the right features and technology. The DrayTek Vigor 2862Ln router, for example, ticks all the boxes above, delivering options for multiple ADSL/VDSL or cable broadband connections, as well as an integrated LTE modem. Whether you’re looking for ultimate performance combined with broadband failover by load balancing two broadband connections simultaneously, or just having a PAYG data SIM in place to ensure continuity of service if your primary broadband goes down, the DrayTek Vigor 2862Ln has you covered. And being a DrayTek product, it also has security baked in, including a fully featured firewall, ensuring that your network is both resilient and safe.
While we’ll start to see offices reopen in 2021, working from home is unlikely to disappear, with most companies looking to implement a hybrid working environment going forward. With remote working clearly becoming the new normal, investing in DrayTek routers with multiple broadband failover options is something that every business should consider.
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